<img height="1" width="1" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=765055043683327&amp;ev=PageView &amp;noscript=1">

The Growing Incompatibility of Social Media and Workplace Mental Health

Jeff Griffin

A global pandemic. Social unrest. A presidential election. Now a Supreme Court confirmation. A perfect storm if ever there was one. Never before have I seen the country so divided over such a confluence of events, and never before have I seen such tremendous stress placed upon our collective workplace and individual mental health. I see it in my family, my friends, my neighbors, and even my employees.

With this in mind, I sat down over the weekend to watch a new Netflix documentary called The Social Dilemma. Frequent readers of this blog know that I've never really used it in the past to recommend a particular piece of media, except for some excellent Ted Talks related to the workplace and others tangentially related to employee benefits.

Nevertheless, I found The Social Dilemma so riveting, so concerning, and so timely, that I feel compelled to recommend that everyone sit down with their families and watch this film. In fact, I'm asking my entire workforce to do just the same.

This documentary cuts between "conscientious Silicon Valley defectors" from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Google to sound the alarm about the incursion of data mining and manipulative technology into our social lives and beyond.

Read More
Topics: wellness, Social Media, Mental Health, COVID-19

Related posts

Working Parents Struggle With Caregiving And Childcare In Midst of Pandemic

Jeff Griffin

Even before the pandemic hit, working parents struggled to meet the needs of their employers and families. Then came the school and daycare closings, and working parents who were already at their breaking points got pushed even further. 

Seven months into the pandemic, things aren't much better for this group of caregivers. With most child care centers still closed around the country and the vast majority of schools practicing remote learning, working parents are dealing with the overwhelming task of once again juggling caregiving and work responsibilities as we head into the Fall.

And while much attention has been given to parents trying to balance their professional responsibilities with home-schooling and taking care of their children, there are also millions of people who are juggling remote work and eldercare for aging parents and other relatives.

Balancing work and caregiving responsibilities is contributing to decreased productivity, poor mental health, and increased stress among employees. All this is leading to lower morale, higher absenteeism, an increased risk for all sorts of health conditions, and higher health care costs.

Just consider a few of the stunning findings from a survey from Boston Consulting Group (BCG), conducted earlier this summer;

Read More
Topics: COVID-19

Related posts

Pandemic-Driven Changes To Employee Benefits for 2021

Jeff Griffin

Last week we addressed how this open enrollment season is shaping up to be like no other benefits enrollment period we've ever experienced. In that blog post, we offered a number of suggestions for how employers can best prepare for the choppy seas which lie ahead.

This week we want to share the shifts we're seeing in the employee benefits employers are offering, due to the altered landscape brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic; from products and services to policies and medical premiums.

What we've found to be most surprising is that despite some companies cutting costs through layoffs, furloughs, cuts in pay, and reductions to 401(k) matching programs, employers who can afford to do so are broadening their benefit programs due to the pandemic.  

Here are some of the most significant changes we're helping our clients roll-out.

Read More
Topics: COVID-19

Related posts

Preparing for an Unprecedented Benefits Open Enrollment

Jeff Griffin

Fall is just around the corner, which also means we're about to enter an employee benefits open enrollment season like no other that has come before. Many organizations are still operating fully remote. Others are still trying their best to reopen as safely as possible amid mixed messages and fluid guidelines from state and local governments.

Suffice to say, open enrollment planning is the last thing on anyone's mind, except that is, for your employees, who are more concerned than ever about having the right coverage and savings options in place during these uncertain times.

Procrastinating or allowing yourself to get too distracted from benefit decisions and enrollment planning is a recipe for disaster, given what's at stake this open enrollment season.

Here's what we're seeing out there and our advice on how best to prepare for open enrollment.

Read More
Topics: Communications, open enrollment, COVID-19

Related posts

Six Things Employers Can Likely Expect From Congress's Phase 4 COVID-19 Relief Bill

Jeff Griffin

As of yesterday, Congress is back in session, but only for a few short weeks. If lawmakers can work together to produce another COVID-19 relief package, it's likely to be the last major piece of legislation passed before the 2020 election.

With prior stimulus measures slated to expire over the next few weeks, the economy continuing to falter as the pandemic resurges across the country, and a presidential election looming, the stakes simply couldn't be any higher.

Back in May, the House of Representatives passed its Phase 4 bill, known as the HEROES Act. The bill has been up for review since early July, though Senate Republicans, who prefer a measure with a far more tempered price tag, have been reluctant to consider it.

The House's $3.5 trillion relief bill would extend enhanced unemployment benefits, offer additional direct payments to taxpayers, and provide assistance to state and local governments, among other things.

The Senate is expected to introduce their own version of a relief bill this week that will have to be reviewed and negotiated between the two chambers before they recess in early August.

Several economic proposals impacting small and midsize businesses have been gaining consensus among lawmakers for weeks, so the final version of the Senate bill could contain elements of all of them.

Here are six things employers can likely expect from the Phase 4 bill; 

Read More
Topics: Legislation, COVID-19, Coronavirus

Related posts

Five Ways COVID-19 Is Reshaping HR

Jeff Griffin

With fluctuating infection rates, predictions of a second wave, and conflicting official guidance, organizations need to adapt quickly if they want to survive, yet alone succeed in the midst of, and even after, the coronavirus pandemic subsides.

HR teams stand at the forefront of these efforts. For years, HR departments have been tasked with ushering in fundamental workplace changes, and this moment is no different.

While this list could be far longer, here are just five ways the coronavirus is reshaping HR and how departments can adapt to these new challenges.

Read More
Topics: Company Culture, Telecommuting, FMLA, COVID-19

Related posts

EEOC Issues 7th Update To Employer Guidance on Coronavirus and the ADA

Jeff Griffin

Yesterday, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued their seventh update to nearly 50 FAQs they have been publishing since March 18th, addressing how employers should comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) while also observing all applicable emergency workplace safety guidelines during the coronavirus pandemic.

While their latest update primarily addresses antibody testing, the guidance, in its entirety, is quite informative, so much so that we wanted to share it here.

While it's a good idea for every employer to follow the CDC's latest guidelines for maintaining workplace safety, only employers with 15 or more employees are subject to the ADA (though smaller employers may be subject to similar rules under applicable state or local laws.)

Regardless, even smaller employers can benefit from the guidance provided in these EEOC FAQs about ADA compliance. 

Read More
Topics: Compliance, Telecommuting, COVID-19

Related posts

The Pros and Cons of Monitoring Work-From-Home (WFH) Employees Remotely

Jeff Griffin

Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, more employees are working remotely than ever before. And, even as businesses begin to reopen across the country, remote work will likely remain popular for the foreseeable future.

While remote work arrangements help keep employees healthy and safe in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, they create unique challenges for teams and managers. One of these challenges involves monitoring remote workers. Employers across the nation are leveraging various technologies and tools to monitor employee productivity, and active and idle time.

While these tools can help employers ensure employees are working while they’re at home, they come with their own set of legal risks. Moreover, the practice of using such tools to monitor employees may create tension between employees and managers, as employees may feel like they’re not being trusted.

There are benefits and drawbacks to monitoring remote employees, as well as a host of legal considerations. This article provides a general overview of the pros and cons of monitoring remote workers and outlines general best practices for doing so.

Read More
Topics: Compliance, Telecommuting, COVID-19

Related posts

Common Employment Practices Claims Arising Out of COVID-19

Jeff Griffin

COVID-19 has brought massive upheaval upon the American workplace. Employers have found themselves drafting and implementing policies and procedures addressing a wide array of issues including remote work, layoffs, furloughs, pay cuts, workplace conditions and many more.

Not surprisingly, the uncertainty wrought by COVID-19 has left employers at an increased risk of exposure to employment-related claims alleging wrongful termination, discrimination, retaliation and many others.

In this post today we'll cover the most common potential causes of action related to COVID-19 that may lead to employment-related litigation. As is the case with all inherently legal issues, employers are strongly advised to seek the guidance of legal counsel when faced with any of the claims discussed here.

WORKPLACE HEALTH AND SAFETY

There have already been a multitude of safety violation claims filed under the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) and state equivalents. These safety violations typically allege that an unsafe workplace has caused sickness and/or death due to COVID-19, or that an employer failed to take appropriate measures to reduce COVID-19 exposure and spread within the workplace.

Such “appropriate measures” might include failure to provide hand-washing stations, sanitizers, masks, or adequate protective gear on location. Other claims have alleged that employees have been unable to practice social distancing due to the nature of their jobs.

Read More
Topics: Compliance, Risk Management, COVID-19, ERISA

Related posts

IRS Provides Relief to Those with Overfunded FSAs

Jeff Griffin

With daycare centers closed and summer camps turning kids away, employees who socked away money in their Dependent Care Flexible Savings Accounts (DCFSAs) are worried their use-it-or-lose-it account balances are going down the drain.

This concern is also shared by those who tucked away pre-tax savings in Health Care Flexible Savings Accounts (HCFSAs) to cover eligible health care expenditures. With hospitals postponing elective procedures and patients skittish about entering health care facilities, savers simply aren't racking up enough receipts to deplete their FSA balances.

Both groups can now breathe a sigh of relief, since new guidance from the IRS will allow most employees to make midyear pre-tax contribution adjustments to their Health Care and Dependent Care FSAs, which typically aren't permitted once enrollment elections are set.

Historically, the only exception to this rule was if an employee experienced a Qualifying Life Event (QLE), defined by the IRS as a marriage, divorce, job change, birth or adoption of a child, or when a dependent child reaches age 26.

In addition to allowing midyear savings account adjustments, the IRS is also permitting midyear health plan enrollment changes.

Read More
Topics: Legislation, HSAs, FSAs, COVID-19

Related posts

Instant Blog Alerts

Straight to Your Inbox

Most Read

Posts by Topic

Expand all
Free_White_Paper_Employee_Benefits_Branding
Free_White_Paper_Private_Exchange_Employee_Benefits
Free_White_Paper_Employee_Benefits_Branding
Free_White_Paper_Employee_Benefits_Hospitality
Free_White_Paper_Improving_Employee_Benefits_Communications
Free_White_Paper_Employee_Benefits_Construction
Free_White_Paper_Employee_Benefits_Branding